Categorized as General

The Early Bird Catches the Worm


I never used to be an early riser, especially when I was a student. I didn’t feel I’d got the most from a day unless I went to bed at 2am (and after a few pints and a lot of dancing) To be honest, the habit of late nights stayed with me for years, but when we got our dog – Piper – I started to get up first thing, and walk with friends and their dogs over the downs. And I have to say, I’ve never looked back. My alarm is set for 6:15 most mornings, and I meet my dog walking buddies soon after. Well, once I’ve had a shower and a large coffee that is… I’m only human after all…


For me, mornings hold a certain laid-back charm that often goes unnoticed in my fast-paced life. Personally, I love watching the changing seasons. One day it’ll be frosty, and you’ll feel like you’re an extra in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a couple of months later the hawthorn blossom is out and everything looks like white again for a different reason. Soon after that the wild flowers are out, and you get the beautiful blues and purples of the orchids and cornflowers, the reds of the poppies. And of course all the beautiful butterflies they attract.


During the tranquil early hours, and with the companionship of a friend, embracing the early mornings can have a positive impact on our overall well-being. This might seem intuitive, but it’s not just a feeling, it’s backed by research.  


A recent study conducted at Bristol University, explored the advantages of getting up early and getting out with a friend. Published in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, the study highlights the positive effects on our mental and physical health.


Enhanced Well-being


The study revealed that those who embraced the calm of early mornings and shared activities with a friend, experienced higher levels of mental well-being compared to those who didn’t. The combination of early mornings, when much of the world is still asleep, and the companionship of a friend, creates a serene and uplifting environment, reducing stress levels, promoting a positive state of mind, and fostering a sense of connection and belonging. Not a bad way to start the day!


Early mornings also provide an opportunity to establish a healthy routine. People who wake up early are more likely to eat at regular times, exercise, and prioritise self-care like meditation, yoga or reading. This consistency can lead to improved physical and mental health over time. They’re also more likely to go to bed early which we all know we should do more of!!


And let’s not forget, this is how we all used to live. Going to bed early and waking up early aligns with our natural circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep quality. This in turn results in improved energy levels, enhanced mood, and increased overall well-being. You can’t just shake off hundreds of thousands of years of evolution in a couple of generations!


Getting out in Nature


Getting up early can also allow us to better connect with the natural world around us. The peacefulness of early mornings provides an opportunity to witness the beauty of nature, whether it’s the vibrant colours of the sky or the plants, or listening to the birds and wildlife.


The idea that spending time in nature can make you feel better isn’t new. We all feel this to be true, and many of us have anecdotes of our own or from friends or family that support the idea. I know I always feel better after a bike ride or walk in the country. Or even a workout in the garden instead of indoors!


People who have been suffering from stress, sickness, or a trauma have been known to spend quiet contemplative time in gardens or take to the mountains or woods to heal. And office workers don’t plaster their desks with pictures of gorgeous natural scenes for nothing. Natural spaces make us more at ease. Studies have shown that we naturally gravitate towards savannas, forests that have little undergrowth, and landscapes with clean, rushing water. And we like flowers because our ancestral brains know that fruit and seeds come later. In short, we’re wired evolutionarily to prefer nature.


This connection with nature has a great impact on our well-being, and by immersing ourselves in the wonders of the natural world, we can cultivate a positive and mindful mind-set. So, in general, the more time we spend outside, the better out mental health will be. But nature isn’t just the countryside. The benefits can also be found in our towns’ parks and green spaces.

And of course, sharing this with a friend increases those happy hormones.

Frosty Piper and Casper
Doggy Mammas Sunrise

Why step out with a friend?


We all know friendships are fab. Good friends teach you about yourself and challenge you to be better. They encourage you to keep going when times are tough and celebrate your successes with you.


But friends do a lot more than give you a shoulder to cry on; they also have a positive impact on your health. Some research even says friendships are just as important to your well-being as eating right and exercising.


Spread a little Happiness


Did you know that happiness is contagious? If you’re feeling down in the mouth, heading out with happy friends will cheer you up!


Stimulation and Growth


Engaging in stimulating activities with a friend during the laid-back morning hours (err, I’m talking about stimulating your brain cells, just to be clear…) can also have a profound impact on your cognitive function. Whether it involves exploring creative hobbies, or sharing thought-provoking discussions, these activities stimulate your mind and encourage exploration. The relaxed environment allows for unhurried conversations, facilitating personal growth, expanding knowledge, and inspiring you to embrace new experiences and ideas.


In a nutshell…


Making the most of the early morning is such a great way to start the day. If you don’t have a furry friend to coax you out of bed however, it’s all too easy to turn over and hit that snooze button. Make a commitment to meet a friend, and you’re far more likely to get up and enjoy the morning. 

And if you can’t get out somewhere green, you’ll really reap the benefits of that easy start. I made the habit walking the dog, but now I get up early even if the dog (or we) are away. If it’s not something you’ve embraced yet, grab a Piper buddy and give it a go!